2015-05-01 12:00 - Messages

Gender Influences on Return to Work Following Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

OBJECTIVE: To examine the influence of gender on the return to work experience of workers who had sustained a work-related mild traumatic brain injury (wrMTBI) DESIGN: Qualitative study using in-depth telephone interviews SETTING: Community living adults in Ontario, Canada PARTICIPANTS: Purposive sampling was used to recruit participants. Eligibility criteria were mild/moderate TBI diagnosis based on multidisciplinary assessment and workplace injury. Six males and six females with mild TBI participated INTERVENTIONS AND MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): N/A RESULTS: Our findings suggest that gender impacts return to work experiences in multiple ways. Occupational and breadwinner roles were significant for both men and women following wrMTBI. Female participants in this study were more proactive than men in seeking and requesting medical and rehabilitation services; however, the workplace culture may contribute to whether and how health issues are discussed. Among our participants, those who worked in supportive, nurturing (e.g., "feminine") workplaces reported more positive return to work (RTW) experiences than participants employed in traditionally "masculine" work environments. For all participants, employer and co-worker relations were critical elements in RTW outcomes CONCLUSION: The application of a gender analysis in this preliminary exploratory study revealed that gender is implicated in the return to work process on many levels for men and women alike. Further examination of the work reintegration processes that takes gender into account is necessary for the development of successful policy and practice for return to work following wrMTBI.

Source: Stergiou-Kita M, Mansfield E, Sokoloff S, Colantonio A. Arch. Phys. Med. Rehabil., 2015.

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